72 And Out
The Birds came within a whisker of their second Trophy of Legends playoff, but had to be content with being eight places off the qualifying top 64. They knew that they had to win their final three games to even have a chance - no ifs or buts - and it didn't look too good when Dutch Division Five champions Ferrari scored first on them in the 29th minute, as Edwin Zinn burnt Gilbert Webb
for raw pace. Fortunately, Bernie Egan
would help Grilled to a 4-1 lead, aided by Moey and Mudaliar, and while Settimio Maccaferri pulled one back with a precise header, Chan Ze Han
- who had just replaced Moey as skipper upon Kalki's entry - shut Ferrari out for good.
Next up were English III.6 winners Shooters Hill Mob, who were likewise outdone by a clear margin of three goals, the first two being cracking strikes by Yuta Nakakita
. Portuguese winger José Duarte Barão recovered one from the spot, after an unavoidable handball by Cyril Künzler
; Kalki Parvathaneni
restored the lead four minutes into the second half, though, and Künzler would rise highest to put his giveaway behind him, before the match was done.
Sadly, the table suggested that the Birds' odds of qualification were faint even were they to win their final test, with an inordinate amount of draws required, but they weren't about to leave it all to fate. Their opponents for this would be French Division Three former Trophée Émeraude holders les toxines, whom Grilled wound up entirely dominating in a 6-0 whitewash. Alas, as feared, it wasn't enough.
Team captain Moey Xin Seng
- who was sidelined for the final couple of games, after a pulled calf in the Minions United friendly - remained proud of his fellows, despite that. "72nd of over eight thousand participants, with a single loss and a +30 goal differential in eight matches against some of the world's most-established clubs, is nothing to be sorry about."
The Bunnies in contrast were never in contention to make the Heroes of 2014 Trophy for a third time, although they did finish 629th with a 4-3-1 and +10 record. Their final day began with a 3-1 victory over Dutch fourth division side AFCA Godenzonen, in which Mushtag Al-Nameeri
found the critical second goal following Gerardus Oosthout's equalizer; Mushtag would then again bail the Buns out against Argentine Division Four side Atlético Montenegro, feeding upon a weak clearing punch from a corner kick, fifteen minutes from time.
Farmer Bunnies swept Omani II.1 representatives Aguilera by four goals to nil to finish their latest tournament campaign, but to their most ardent followers, it was only too clear that this squad had peaked. "This isn't getting better, is it?" one diehard, who preferred not to be identified, asked. "I fear the club may be in for some hard times."
Grilled International's own record would be 4-2-2 and +9, beginning this day with a close loss to yet another team from the Netherlands, Fc Hazelnootje of IV.54. Swedish leftback glided in to slot home in the 17th minute, almost immediately answered by Arcadi Sansalvador
at the other end. The second half saw Wang Hanxuan
's graceful volley, before the lead went to Hazelnootje again, with replies by Hein Karremans and Mehmet Hafız. International appeared likely to pull the win out as the Dutch side faded, all the more as Hardi bin Besar
equalized in the 79th minute, but it would be Carlos Ventura Silveira Santos to seize the points right at the death instead.
Another slightly-disappointing high-scoring fixture came next, as Wang Hanxuan
's early brace wasn't enough to shake Italian Division Six visitors Real Giosammot off, and it would end four-all with goals in the final seven minutes through Giosammot's Sisto Sinigaglia, and Chinese trainee Gao Yongrong. International would finally taste victory against Lithuanian IV.32 winners Telsiu Mastis, with Ragib Banović
contributing two goals this time, although Wang Hanxuan
's consistency stood out with his unorthodox 36th minute finish with his knee.